Gardeners are romantics, dreamers, artists, composers, painters, wanderers, charmers, extremists, poets, sculptors, BELIEVERS.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and everyone is thinking about what to get for their special someone. St. Valentine’s Day got its history from ancient Rome, when Pope Galasius changed the pagan festival of Lupercalia on February 15th to the 14th, and renamed it in honor of Valentine, the patron saint of lovers (Biblestudy.org).
Here in the United States, it has become a holiday for candy and rose sales. Our obsession with chocolate has turned St. Valentine’s Day into a moneymaker for chocolatiers. We, as gardeners, have the ability to turn the idea of romance into more than just a day; into a year-long obsession with the art of romance. Think about it, are we not the greatest lovers? We love our plants and flowers for their innate beauty, their fragrances, their simple distractions from an over political society. Societies of flowers mingle in our dreams and sing their love songs to us daily. Even on the bleakest winter days, dried seedheads, evergreens, and frozen waterfalls whisper to us.
Designing a romantic garden is not about plans and sketches. It is about feelings and ideas. It is about grabbing a color palette of plantings with no intention of following a strict guideline. Where do we feel the most at home? Gardens. Whether it is Powell Gardens east of Kansas City or the little arboretum in Falls City, Nebraska, we find a place that opens our minds and refreshes our souls.
We gardeners make a romantic garden by finding the very essence of our soul and sculpting it into the world. Our passions are plants and flowers, water and stone, sun and shade. We paint with the colors of the world, our shovel is our brush. Every gardener’s romantic garden is going to be different, constantly changing. If we start adding for our loved ones, we need to think about what will remind us of them the most. I think a romantic garden should be a place we go not only to love, but to remember those who have passed before us-like dreams.
I may plant sunflowers for my wife’s cheerfulness, her bright perspectives. A mimosa tree will take me to memories of my grandma, a time of long ago. I may have an old fashioned lilac to honor my brother, something stubborn yet beautiful, holding fast to its place, yet constantly sending out messengers for God. By adding multiple plantings, masses of color, soft hues and bright ones, and shades of silver and blue, I can create a garden of wanderings, a home for love.
I will likely still get a rose for my girls and a bouquet for my wife, along with chocolates, but I will also keep creating a home of love outside-a place to snip off a few flowers here and there during the season-which bring forth the joys and sorrows of the garden inside.